This August, it will be sixteen years since I was ordained and began serving in a pretty little church in Strathroy, Ontario. This year they are celebrating the congregation’s 150th anniversary, which means that when I arrived they had already been doing ministry for quite some time. I, on the other hand, was fresh out of seminary and knew all the latest trends for church success. I could see that changes were needed, and they needed to happen fast. We had better get moving, I told them.
Not surprisingly, they resisted. I tried like crazy to hurry them along, but they would not be rushed. Even tiny changes seemed to take forever! And yet five years later, I looked back and saw that we really had accomplished all kinds of great things together. They taught me that there is value in the old story of the turtle and the hare. Sometimes slow is just fine. Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit, after all.
It was a good lesson, and this spring I appreciated it again. I knew when we moved into our new house last August that we needed to make big, drastic changes to the yard. Just like in my first church, I was ready to get right to it: rip off the deck, take down trees, find a solution to the hard-packed sand from a long-ago pool.
Here I am almost a year later and I still have no garden. Instead of being bummed out, however, I am remembering that sometimes important work takes time. So I am taking stock of all that we’ve done so far:
1. The whole family, plus a few teenagers to whom I am eternally grateful, sweated their way through the deck demolition, ripping it off piece by piece and taking it to the wood bin at the dump;
2. With the help of my father in law, uncle, those amazing neighbourhood teenagers and a chainsaw we got the rotted trees down safely and cleaned up the mess;
3. We found an amazing company who put in a grey stone patio;
4. A couple of guys came and ground our remaining stumps down, leaving us with some great mulch.
Sure, we have a long way to go before I can plant the poor peonies that have been languishing in pots since last summer. But I have ideas and a few sketches. I’m talking with my father in law about the raised vegetables he has agreed to build (again). Friends have promised that when I’m ready, they have some perennials for my fresh garden beds.
Maybe I’ll have a garden by this fall. Or maybe next spring. We’ll get there eventually. Sometimes change is slow, that’s all.